Monday, November 20, 2006

The Great Global Warming Hysteria

In the middle ages the earth was 30C warmer than it is now. There were no glaciers in the tropical Andes – now there are three. Viking communities farmed in Greenland, which is now covered with permafrost. A Chinese naval fleet is said to have sailed round the Artic in 1421 and found no ice of substance. Global warming existed then, but this fact has been expunged from the UN’s global climate change ideology – its an inconvenient truth.

So too is the effect that the sun is having on our climate. The sun is hotter now than it has been for the past 11,400 years, according to a variety of sources. This inevitably has an impact on the earth’s climate. Recent Danish Space Centre research appears to confirm this. While the earth can absorb some of the new heat from the sun, some of it is reflected back, warming the atmosphere.

Another inconvenient truth is that there has been no atmospheric warming over the last 70 years, according to a significant group of scientists (see ) . Data from the 1,221 sites of the US Historical Climatology Network demonstrate this – many places are actually cooler. This is not the same as surface warming, which is taking place. What is more, the climate change models used to predict the “catastrophic future” of the planet cannot be used to model past behaviour of the planet – that is, when they are used to reconstruct the last one hundred years they are inaccurate, predicting a much warmer climate than actually occurred.

In the last thirty years, a great expanse of Antarctica has cooled – as much as 20C in some places, with the ice mass growing significantly in some places. While some warming of the western Antarctic ice sheet has occurred, the net result is a small (not catastrophic) loss of ice mass. While this supports some aspects of the so called climate change consensus, it does not support the “catastrophists”.

It is claimed that there is a consensus within the scientific community about climate change. There is not. 17,000 scientist signed a petition some years ago indicating their dissent. More recently, 41 of the leading scientists in Britain wrote to The Daily Telegraph indicating their rejection of the interpretation of climate change by the climate lobby. 60 leading scientists wrote In April to our own Prime Minister asking for science, not polemics, to determine strategy on climate change.

The Director of the UK’s Climate Research Unit suggests that the growingly “catastrophic” predictions about climate change by some scientists reflect their concerns about ongoing funding, the new round of post Kyoto negotiations and the blurring of the line between science and politics. Lord Monckton of Brenchley goes further and suggests that there is a blurring of the line between scientific discourse and politics – a blurring which damages both. The last time we saw such a “scientific consensus” was when it was understood that the earth is flat.

Scientists that do not follow the consensus, such as Bjon Lomberg, (author of The Skeptical Environmentalist) are castigated by others for challenging their view – yet the very foundation of science is challenge. “Group think” dominates and controls the flow of research funds and impairs our ability to get to the heart of the issues. Governments and the UN use science selectively. A recent report of a UK parliamentary committee which looks at the way in which government uses science suggests that it is selective, politically motivated and often just twisted to meet the policy position the Government has taken. There is no reason to think that any Government behaves differently. It is “politically correct science”.

There is, however, consensus that the “hockey stick” view of climate change – showing a relatively flat line that suddenly spikes at an angle upwards between the years 1800 – 2000 – is unfit for use and is based on questionable assumptions and a manipulation of different kinds of data. Yet many continue to use it. There is no consensus on the temperature of the last thousand years, other than recognition that the earth has been warmer than it is now.

What all of this has lead to is misguided policies, public fear about the future and a discrediting of science. It also leads to a focus on the wrong thing. The real focus needs to be on the future mix of our energy supplies, especially now that we know both oil and natural gas are (or will soon be) past peak production – supplies are in decline. We need reliable, abundant sources of energy. We need to revisit nuclear power, focus on substitutes to natural gas and oil and leverage investments in new energy technologies. This is the real scientific agenda.

No comments: